The Exceptional Writer – Bapsi Sidhwa

Precise intro to Bapsi Sidhwa

Bapsi Sidhwa was born on 11th August, 1938 and is a novelist belonging to Pakistan. Being a Pakistani novelist, she lives in America and writes completely in English. Sidhwa was blessed to the Parsi Zoroastrian couple Tehmina Bhandara and Peshotan in Karachi. She later migrated to Lahore with her entire family. At the tender age of nineteen, Bapsi fell deeply for a well-known businessman in Bombay and tied a marriage knot. The marriage couldn’t last for long. After breaking up, she got down for writing. Later Bapsi married Noshirwan who was a popular businessman residing in Lahore. The qualified Sidhwa did her graduation from Kinnaird College. She has always been very active doing social work showing endless concern for women around. Commendably, the generous woman was a member of women’s delegation escorting to Turkey and Iran in 1970. She gave birth to three kids in Pakistan and began her writing career after that.

Exhibiting the Author’s Unlimited Intellect

Bapsi volunteered for various organizations meant for social work. Writings of this ideal woman reflects distinctive Pakistani but Parsi ethos. Sidhwa’s sense of humor and individualism makes the woman a very refined English comic writer. But she was never titled as comic writer. After shifting to United States, she taught, presented and lectured creative writing workshops at multiple universities and colleges including ST. Thomas University, Holyoke College, University of Houston and Columbia University. She was a scholar at Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio (Italy) in 1991. Bapsi served on women’s development advisory committee for Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto.

Unforgettable Works of Bapsi

The first novel “The Crow Eaters” of Bapsi Sidhwa was published in 1980 which was widely appreciated by the readers living in Europe. Then her brilliance was reflected in novels The Bride, An American Brat and Ice Candy Man. Her first three writings focused on the Parsi community and families residing in Lahore. The Crow Eaters addressed serious historical and cultural issues written in farcical and humorous style portraying the Parsi culture elements. The Bride explains events of partition through story of a Kohistani tribesmen and a young adorable girl he adopts soon after sighting the deadly massacre in which the girl’s whole family was killed. The Bride interpolate Zaitoon’s (young girl) story with that of Carol who was a beautiful American woman not happy with her marriage to the Pakistani engineer.

Further Details on her Awe Inspiring Vision

Her third novel “Ice Candy Man” reveals events surrounding Partition through Lenny’s eyes (haughty Parsi girl) who was disabled due to Polio. The American Brat was written after Bapsi shifted to America and alarms the increasing Pakistan fundamentalism in 1970’s. It follows the story of sixteen year Parsi girl called Feroza Ginwalla. Feroza’s mother named Zareen decides to migrated Feroza to USA for staying with her uncle. She was hit by an internal cultural shock and Feroza wills to reside in America where she gets strongly involved with a Jewish man. She becomes heavily politicized regarding issues for instance global relations, imperialism and gender. Feroza’s revolutionary attitude was alarming for Zareen who traveled to America to spare her daughter who has turned out to be an American brat.

Highly Inspirational Writings of Sidhwa

In Sidhwa’s novels, she provides a wide glimpse of contemporary political situation in Pakistan. In American Brat, she states a background of fundamentalism dispersing in Pakistan at General Zia’s rule. Sidhwa gets ironical while featuring the dilemmas of fundamentalism. Sidhwa’s incrimination relating fundamentalism was not only restricted to Muslim communities but also targeted other communities. Sidhwa exposes the narrow-mindedness and insular attitude of the American society. Bapsi with her acute characterization, humor and optimistic outlook tackles with some of the contemporary problems. Through her writings, it’s apparent that she has been a part of cultural multiplicity. Strikingly, Sidhwa popularized the fashion and extremely open viewpoints on sex by Saadat Hussin Manto. Her emphasis has always laid upon the Parsi societies and their problems. In modern era, Parsi community were although affluent yet faced fear of becoming a minority group. Bapsi with her brains, understood  Parsi’s antiquity, beliefs and faiths, unveiling mysteries of her community’s life.

Critical Perception on the Insightful Writer

Bapsi’s work has pulled together positive and bright critical attention for giving an exceptional Parsi view on politics and culture of India’s partition. Crow Eaters received applauds for an entertaining social travesty with critics honoring Bapsi’s exuberant characters and the right use of humor. Readers have praised the depiction of ethnically questionable main character in the crow eaters. Ice candy man received a mingled critical reception. Some commentators compares Bapsi’s narrative of linking important political events from the vision of the child to the narration of Salman Rushdie’s in Midnight’s children while other critics found her ways clumsy and ineffective for elaborating the events relating to partition. Many scholars have strongly criticized her novel ice candy man for excessively simplifying politics and history of partition. They also faulted Bapsi’s representation of Gandhi asserting her views on political and religious leader is unbalanced as well as unrealistic.

Studying Bapsi more deeply

Critics noted that both her novels ‘An American Brat’ and ‘The Bride’ examined strong characterization and cultural conflict. Kamala Edward keenly observed Sidhwa as a realist and feminist. One could apparently see in her the  characteristics of a woman. American Brat was extolled by various reviewers as compelling portrayal of both upcoming ages and the experience of immigrant in United States. Furthermore, many critics observed Bapsi’s use of cultural and social stereotypes in almost all her novels specifically in American Brat.

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